Hospitality Work is skilled and we need to recognise that

We know the hospitality sector is in crisis when it comes to staffing. Venues up and down the country are crying out for staff and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. With this week being Hospitality Apprenticeship week, we have another chance to raise the profile of a career in hospitality. We can introduce initiatives and government incentives but in the end, it’s the perception of working in hospitality that needs to change. We need to look beyond our shores to parts of Asia, mainland Europe and Australia where a career in hospitality is recognised as a skilled job that people are proud to do.

How can we make it a job that is recognised with pride in the UK? This has to start at home with parents and friends changing their perception. A job in hospitality shouldn’t be seen as a stop gap or a first-time job for pocket money. It is so much more than that. How many of us has done a 14-hour shift, managing a team in what is a chaotic environment but making it look like a sleek and well-oiled operation. This is not a job for everyone and it's not a job everyone can do and for that alone it should be recognised as needing specialist skills.

We know great service is not the standard everywhere we go. It comes from people with energy and passion and a fantastic personality. They need to manage stress effectively, be highly organised and patient, have business and management expertise alongside leadership skills. So why are we still seeing so many people entering the sector with these special skills but not seeing the job as a long-term option, of feeling that taking that route is not something they can be proud of.

It all stems from how those around them view this choice and we need that to change. As parents we need to understand the level of skill that is required to work in hospitality. It isn’t an unskilled job, it isn’t lower level than working behind a desk in the corporate world. If anything, it instils ways of working and unique skills way ahead of going down a standard university route. That’s why we need to encourage people to continue working in hospitality, receiving formal training through an apprenticeship and ultimately having that recognised by the rest of us. Next time you sit in a pub or restaurant, look at the bigger picture that’s going on around you so that your drink, meal and environment is just how you like it. It’s not easy – far from it.

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